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The Psychology of the Great Awokening

Eric Kaufmann, whose book Whiteshift I reviewed here, is out with a new report on the phenomenon known as the “Great Awokening”: Over the past five years or so, white liberals have shifted to the left extremely rapidly on racial matters. It’s an interesting overview of what’s happening, complete with some new data from surveys Kaufmann ran himself.

A central idea here is that perceptions of racism aren’t necessarily bound to the reality of racism. By just about any measure, racist attitudes have declined in recent decades, and yet media coverage and liberals’ views of the topic have become more dire.

You can argue that perceptions are finally catching up to reality, but Kaufmann provides evidence that, at least in some ways, these perceptions are warped and damaging. For example, lots of Americans — eight in ten blacks and six in ten out of a sample of highly educated liberal whites — think young black men are more likely to be shot to death by police than to die in car accidents, which is not true. Kaufmann also runs one of those clever social-psychology experiments, having some black survey respondents read a passage by Ta-Nehisi Coates (while others read nothing or a different passage) and seeing how it affects their sense of control over their lives: The result is a 15-point drop.

Read the whole thing; there’s a lot more to it.

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